What is the Difference Between Omega 3 and Fish Oil

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Is fish oil the same as omega 3? Or are they different? If they are different, then what is the difference between omega 3 and fish oil?

People looking for fish oil or omega 3 often run into this long-time confusion. Every reference seems to equate omega 3 and fish oil, but they are not the same.

In this post, we will discuss the difference between omega 3 and fish oil in detail. Then we will share a few words on the benefits of fish oil, which contain omega 3 fatty acids. 

What is Omega 3

Omega 3 is a fatty acid our body can’t produce. We need to get it from our diet. From controlling many bodily processes to promoting a healthy heart, omega 3 has a lot of duties. You can read in detail about omega 3 6 9 in our definitive guide for more information. 

People take omega 3 supplements to prevent heart diseases and improve brain functions.

The fatty acid may also have a role in fat burning, promoting healthy bones, and alleviating asthma.

Plus, it can help in depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders. 

Omega 3 has three types-

  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)

Foods that contain Omega 3

Sea and oily fishes are abundant in omega 3. You can also get it from plant sources like flaxseeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, fresh basil, and more.

However, animal sources of omega 3 have more health benefits compared to plant-based sources. 

A healthy person needs at least 1-gram of omega 3 per serving consisting of 200 – 500-mg EPA and DHA. 

Who Needs Omega 3

If you eat fish, you may already be getting your requirement of omega 3. However, some people may need more of the fatty acid. They include people who are-

  • Have risks of heart disease
  • Pregnant or nursing a baby

Before we go into the difference between omega 3 and fish oil, let’s learn more about what it involves. 

What is the Difference Between Omega 3 and Fish Oil

What is Fish Oil

Fish oil is surely popular. Americans shell out $1 billion each year on fish oils for various health benefits. 

Fish oil is made from oily and fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, tuna, sardines, and trout. Fish oil is rich in omega 3, and also contain vitamins A and D.

By weight, 30% of fish oil is omega 3, while the rest contains fat. Omega 3 is the only important nutrient in fish oil you should be concerned about. 

The omega 3 in fish oil contains both EPA and DHA. Plant-based omega 3 only contains ALA, which our bodies convert to EPA and DHA. 

Fish oil provides our body with a ready supply of EPA and DHA.

According to research, a combination of EPA and DHA provides better health benefits than ALA alone. This makes fish oil very popular as a supplement form of omega 3 over flaxseed oil or hempseed oil.

Now, the most important part of our article, the difference.

What is the Difference Between Omega 3 and Fish Oil

Fish oil comes from fish, while omega 3 is a fatty acid. 

You find omega 3 fatty acids in huge amounts in fish oil. The omega 3 fatty acid in fish oil is made up of EPA and DHA. So, when you have fish oil, you get a good dose of omega 3 fatty acids. This is the difference between omega 3 and fish oil. 

Let’s take an example to illustrate the point. Think of omega 3 as protein. Now, you can get protein from meat, dairy, whey, soybeans, and other sources. 

In the same way, you can get omega 3 from various sources like fish, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts. 

Fish oil is such a source of omega 3. When you take fish oil, you get a dose of omega 3 fatty acids that have many health benefits. 

We hope you are now are of these difference. Next, we will check out the usefulness of fish oil

What is the Difference Between Omega 3 and Fish Oil

The Health Benefits of Fish Oil

Remember, we said omega 3 is the main nutrient in fish oil?

So, when you consume fish oil, you get the same benefits you get from omega 3. We discussed the benefits in-depth in our definitive guide that we linked above. Read it for a full understanding of the health benefits of omega 3

Here, we will just run down the main benefits for your quick reference. 

A healthy heart: Omega 3 produce good cholesterol and promotes a healthy heart. It lowers the risks of various cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, and strokes. 

Improved cognition: Omega 3 may facilitate the development of a healthy brain and stop cognitive deterioration.

Improved mood and mental health: The fatty acid can help in depression and other psychotic disorders. 

Facilitates weight loss: Omega 3 has been found to reduce weight in obese individuals in studies.

Good eyesight: Omega 3 can improve vision in people with eye diseases. 

Anti-inflammatory: Fish oil can reduce chronic inflammation. It can also help people with painful joints, stiffness, and arthritis. 

Healthy babies: Taking omega 3 during pregnancy can assist in the growth and development of infants. 

Strong bones: Our hero fatty acid can even contribute to healthy bones. Omega 3 can improve bone mineral density and bring down markers of bone breakdown.

Alleviates asthma: Omega 3 can reduce symptoms of asthma, especially in young people. Mothers who take fish oil have babies who are at less risk of developing asthma. 

Next, let’s check out a few important considerations before we end our difference between these two supplements discussion. 

Risks of Fish Oil

Fish oil may not be suitable for all people. You need to speak to a doctor before taking fish oil if you-

  • Take drugs that affect blood clotting
  • Have a sensitive stomach

Taking too much fish oil is also not advised. Too much of vitamins A and D in fish oil can have adverse health effects. 

Stick with 1-gram of omega 3 per serving where you get at least 500-mg of DHA and EPA. 

What is the Difference Between Omega 3 and Fish Oil

Final Thoughts

We hope you are no longer confused about the difference between omega 3 and fish oil. The two are not the same, though you may get similar health benefits from both. The difference between these two supplements is mainly in form, where fish oil is a better source of fatty acid than plants. 

However, people with shellfish allergies may consider speaking to a doctor before taking fish oil. They may be okay with plant-based omega supplements made from sources like flaxseed.

Otherwise, it’s safe and better to take fish oil when you are considering omega 3 supplements. Check out our list of the 5 best omega 3 capsules in India to choose the best supplement. 


Is omega 3 and fish oil the same?

Omega 3 is a fatty acid while fish oil is made from fishes like sardines and salmons. However, fish oil contains a high amount of omega 3 fatty acids along with vitamin A and D. If you’re looking for good quality omega 3, fish oil is a good choice.

Which is better – omega 3 or fish oil?

Fish oil is rich in EPA and DHA, both of which are omega 3 fatty acids. Fish oil is a much more effective supplement if you want to enjoy the benefits of omega 3. Plant sources are not that effective and don’t provide the full range of omega 3 fatty acids.

Is plant-based omega 3 as good as fish oil?

No. Fish oil is a much richer and more effective source of omega 3 compared to plants. This is because you get a ready dose of a range of omega 3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA. Omega 3 that comes from plants only supply us with ALA omega 3.

Is it better to eat fish or take fish oil?

It’s always better to get your nutrients directly from food. As a result, eating fish is a better choice than taking fish oil. But if you don’t eat enough fish, go for fish oil to get your daily requirement of omega 3.

Are there any side effects of taking fish oil?

The most common side effect is a fishy burp when you take fish oil. You can also experience nausea, diarrhea, and heartburn. Don’t take more than the recommended dose of fish oil as it can have adverse effects. Try to stick with 1gm omega 3 per serving that provides 500mg of EPA and DHA.